Seeking out fall colors is a great way to explore Fort Collins and surrounding areas during one of its most beautiful seasons. The peak season for fall foliage typically runs from the last week in September to the second week of October. But, for those wanting to get a head start you can find fall foliage as early as mid September in Northern Colorado.
Fort Collins' proximity to the Cache la Poudre River Canyon and Rocky Mountain National Park makes our city a leaf peeping mecca. Fort Collins is the perfect place to make your hub during your search for beautiful fall colors. The Poudre Canyon is just 15 miles north of Fort Collins and Rocky Mountain National Park is approximately 45 miles southwest of Fort Collins. Make these short drives and prepare to be amazed by the orange and yellow spattered mountain sides.
The gold, orange, and red leaves sprawl as far as the eye can see as you wind your way through the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Just remember to be prompt during peak season because you only get two weeks to soak it all in. Don't hesitate, Book your room today!
Best displays of fall colors around Fort Collins:
Colorado Highway 14, which follows along the Poudre River, is a designated Colorado Scenic and Historic Byway between Fort Collins and the town of Walden. Plus, the Cache la Poudre-North Park Scenic Byway is recognized as one of the state’s premier scenic highways. This route features incredible scenery in the Poudre Canyon and along the Poudre River, as well as large forests and towering mountain peaks. Stop at the Home Moraine Geological site, an area carved by glaciers, and keep an eye out for Bighorn Sheep. Approximately 50 miles up the canyon, the road rolls over 10,000 foot Cameron Pass in the vast North Park Valley. Visitors will want to stop a moment and take in the view of Nokhu Crags. You will definitely soak up all the views as you drive west into the Poudre Canyon.
Lory State Park is a beautiful state owned and operated park just minutes west of Fort Collins and sprawls between Horsetooth Reservoir and the majestic foothills. You'll be able to enjoy over 26 miles of scenic trails with varying terrain from rolling valleys to mountainous hillsides.
Arthur’s Rock is the most popular hike in the park and it boasts magnificent views of Horsetooth Reservoir and Fort Collins from above. On a day that you’re looking for a challenging hike but don’t want to spend your whole day doing it, Arthur’s Rock is your trail.
Cameron Pass is approximately 65 miles west of Fort Collins and offers a myriad of recreational opportunities. This is the scenic drive you want to make during your leaf peeping adventure. Highway 14 takes you from Fort Collins to the Continental Divide and the drive is full of colors produced by the thousands of aspen trees.East or West, you'll be surrounded by sunning, natural imagery.
Home to attractions such as Deadman Lookout and the Shambhala Mountain Center, Red Feather Lakes is a beautiful area located just an hour from the heart of Fort Collins. This outdoor haven is the perfect area for those looking to avoid large crowds. And as the name suggest, you'll have your pick of over a dozen different lakes to explore.
Looking to explore the mountains west of Fort Collins? There is approximately 650,000 acres of National Forest System lands in Larimer County, full of recreational opportunities throughout the year including camping. The Canyon Lakes Ranger District manages these National Forest System lands for forest health, traditional forest uses and recreation. The district is home to four Wilderness areas, three national recreation trails and Colorado’s only Wild and Scenic River – the Cache la Poudre River.
Fort Collins is located just 35 miles from the peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park that soar to more than 13,000 feet, and form the Continental Divide. The town of Estes Park sits at the eastern edge of the park. Rocky Mountain National Park covers 410 square miles and includes Longs Peak (14,255 feet high), 18 named peaks above 13,000 feet, 150 named lakes, and the highest continuously paved highway in the U.S. — Trail Ridge Road. The road is usually open from Memorial Day until early October. However, the park is open year-round and lower elevation roads are open during the winter. Reservations are now required to visit the park through Oct. 22, learn more here.